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An adjustable spaceship is a spaceship whose direction, speed, or both can be adjusted through trivial means. Such patterns tend to rely strongly on universal constructor technologies, and consist of tens of thousands to millions of cells.
Gemini, the first spaceship to be found in Life which travelled in a direction neither orthogonal or diagonal, runs off of an instruction tape. Variations of Gemini have been built that travel on different slopes.
Demonoids and Orthogonoids
By applying similar technologies to orthogonal and diagonal spaceships, it is possible to create adjustable-speed orthogonal and diagonal spaceships. A Demonoid's speed can be decreased by simply moving the two halves away from each other correctly.
The caterloopillar concept can be used to create high-period yet considerably fast spaceships. Different speeds can be created by running the Caterloopillar-generating script again.
In other rules
Multiple isotropic non-totalistic rules have been devised which allow for tiny elementary adjustable spaceships to exist, which travel at the true period. The following rules were the first two known to have this property:
- Luka Okanishi. Re: Miscellaneous Discoveries in Other Cellular Automata (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums
- Aidan F. Pierce. Re: Miscellaneous Discoveries in Other Cellular Automata (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums
- AforAmpere. Re: Rules with small adjustable spaceships (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums
- Rules with small adjustable spaceships (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums